Baseball is a funny sport and a hard game to predict. No matter what fans and experts predicted preseason, there’s always a number of surprises and disappointments. We are through the first two months of the baseball season and if you predicted a Toronto Blue Jays/LA Dodgers World Series, you may want to rethink that.
The Blue Jays find themselves in last place in the AL East and have been a huge disappointment so far. While I didn’t predict them to win the AL East, I at least though they would be in contention. The pitching, which was thought to be a bright spot heading into the season, has been one of the worst in the majors. The Blue Jays’ ERA is 4.86 so far this season which is next to last in baseball. R.A. Dickey, the reigning NL CY Young Winner has an ERA of 5.18, with a 4-7 record. Mark Buehrle, who came over from the Miami Marlins has also been a huge disappointment. Buehrle is 2-3 so far this season with a 5.18 ERA. You can’t win many games if you’re giving up five runs a game. The Blue Jays are not the only disappointment in MLB this season.
The two Los Angeles teams (Angels, Dodgers) have played below expectations, but each team have different reasons on why they aren’t playing well. The Angels pitching have been an issue. They are near the bottom in nearly every pitching category in the majors. They have an ERA of 4.37, which is 25th in the majors. The absence of Jered Weaver most of the season has really hurt the Angels. He made his first start on May 29 after being out nearly two months. He pitched six innings and only gave up a run in a win over the Dodgers. If the Angels expect to get back into the AL West race, he along with C.J. Wilson will need to be the two top of the rotation guys the Angels expected them to be.
The Dodgers problems have been related to hitting. Matt Kemp looks far removed from the MVP candidate he’s been the past few seasons. He’s only hitting .251 with only two homeruns and 17 RBIs. Andre Either offense have been missing in action as he’s hitting .253 with four homeruns and 15 RBIs. The Dodgers best offensive player has been Adrian Gonzalez (.328, seven homeruns, 39 RBIs), but he needs more help in the lineup. Manager Don Mattingly has been on the hot seat all season because the Dodgers have the highest payroll in baseball at 220 million, with poor results. While the general manager and ownership group should be the blame for the Dodger struggles, it will be Mattingly that will take the fall if the team remains in last place. Now to the biggest surprises
The Boston Red Sox were picked to finish last by Sports Illustrated and ESPN, but they find themselves in first place at the end of May. Many people credit the turnaround of Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz as the key to their success and that’s been part of it, but it’s been their offense that has kept them in games. Red Sox are first in the majors in runs scored, second in on-base percentage and fifth in slugging percentage. David Ortiz leads the Red Sox in homeruns and he missed a lot of the first month of the season as he was rehabbing his injury. He certainly has been the leader for the Red Sox and looks like he’s back at the All-Star level he was prior to getting hurt.
My biggest team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. This is a team that many though would finish anywhere from 3-5 place in the NL West, but they have the best record in the division. Their pitching has been great through the first two months. They are sixth in ERA (3.49) and fifth in quality starts (32). Patrick Corbin, the 23-year-old has been the best pitcher in baseball in 2013. He has a 8-0 record with a 1.71 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Paul Goldschmidt has played like an MVP candidate thus far. Goldschmidt, who’s playing in his second full season in the majors is hitting .330, with 12 homeruns and 41 RBIs. He’s been carrying the Diamondback offense all season long. If you haven’t seen Arizona play this season, then you need to stay up and watch a few games. They are young, talented and seem to be ready to contend in the NL West.
Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. So the teams on top could certainly be on the bottom two months from now. The Miami Marlins were competing in the NL East after May last season, but we saw how that turned out. Things changes, but we will always have teams that exceed expectations and teams that never live up to them.